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The Forked Tongue

I have always been bother by monetary policy for the simple fact that it seems that effective monetary policy in a fiat system with a central bank monopoly on the production of base money relies almost exclusively on managing expectations. That sounds innocuous until you realize that really it is a fancy way of saying that good monetary policy is that which tricks people best. We’ll delve into the details of what that means perhaps later on.

But this is not unusual. For all of the fits that anti-capitalists get themselves into about advertising and how corporations play mind games with people to get them to buy their products or do other awful things, that same action is either ignored when done by government or outright celebrated.  Here are two additional examples:

  1. Paul Starr, in talking about the Clinton insurance exchanges: “Consumers would acquire that insurance through purchasing cooperatives, soon renamed “regional health alliances” at the instigation of political advisers who thought that the term “cooperative” sounded too leftist.
  2. Paul Starr, in talking about the Clinton health plan: “As a little reflection will show, the capped premium had much the same incidence as a payroll tax graduated according to firm size and average wages, but the capped premium had the singular advantage of being called a premium rather than a tax.

It’s one thing for advertising firms to use subtle language to make you want to eat the hamburgers of their clients, and quite another when the force of coercion stands behind it. But for some, that is a distinction without a difference. I beg to differ.

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